There are rare days when it takes all the will I have to simply get out of bed, or do anything once I do manage to slide out from under the covers. Not because I want a day to relax; not a time of rest; simply an unnwarranted, isolated paralysis of the will. Days when the “to do” list is longer than the hours in the day and the stamina of my heart and mind. When the best plan to my overwhelmed self is no plan at all–slipping back under the down comforter, piling the pillows over my head and hoping no one notices that mom/wife/cook/shopper for food/taxi driver for activities of offspring/teacher/gardener/nurse/domestic dispute solver/counsellor/laundress/delegator of chores/administrator of discipline, band aids and ice cream is AWOL and in the lumpy bed hiding from the responsibility and reality of life. When the thin, hazy mist becomes a thick, choking fog that seemingly obscures the presence of the Rock of Ages. Those days that come every so often, with that lowness in spirit and heart that is there when my eyes open in the darkness before dawn that begins my days, without warning, fanfare or justification.
I think often of my sweet 8th grade Sunday School Teacher, Darlene, when I feel this way. She was attending Bible Study Fellowship then, and loved her group leader, Rosanna, just as we loved Darlene. She used to tell us that Rosanna would pray “Lord, give me the ‘want to’ to want to” for whatever it was she didn’t even want to want to do. It can be hard, some days, to even desire to get my will going in any direction but a full stop.
A priest in Elizabeth Goudge masterpiece, The Scent of Water, had this to say to one who experienced these days with regularity:
” My dear…your God is a trinity.
There are three necessary prayers and they have three words each.
They are these, ‘Lord, have mercy. Thee I adore. Into Thy hands.‘
Not difficult to remember.
This I think I can do. Sometimes, when it seems too hard to even ask for the “want to,” or I don’t know how to ask, I rest in this:
“the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
I often wonder, if those groans on my behalf, from Holy Spirit’s heart to Father God’s ear, echo the words of the Son in the garden, “Let not My will but Yours be done.”
And so, on these days, so rare but devastating, we can pray “into Your hands I commit my spirit” and have faith the Spirit will intercede for us, the Son will tenderly shepherd us, and the Father will shower us with grace and peace, because He always loves us.